Harlequin ladybirds

The Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) is a native of east Asia but has come to our shores in the last few years with shipments of plants or fruit & vegetables. Adults and larvae have an insatiable appetite for aphids & scale insects so they were an ideal choice for commercial flower, fruit & vegetable growers all around the world.

There has been some concern that this new introduction will out-compete for food with our own native ladybirds but we won’t know if this has happened until scientists have been able to monitor the populations. Even then there is very little we can do because they have already spead over a large part of the country.

As you can see from my photos the Harlequin Ladybird is available in many different colour-schemes! It’s hard to describe them when they can be orange with black spots or black with orange spots but in general they are about the same size as our common, native 7-spot Ladybird, but they often have more spots and larger spots, sometimes merging together.
If you think you have seen a Harlequin Ladybird you can find out more information and send in your record to the national recording scheme by clicking here: here